by Beth Slutsky, California History-Social Science Project Blog
The California History-Social Science Project (CHSSP) is excited to welcome Cindy Mata as the new Site Director at the UC Irvine History Project. Most recently, Mata has served as the Associate Director of the UCLA History-Geography Project, though she brings to UC Irvine years of experience in K-12 history-social science education, educational research, and teacher leadership.
Mata recently explained her enthusiasm to work with the various communities in Orange County “to create a home for history and ethnic studies educators to continue to deepen their pedagogical knowledge.” K-12 teachers are exhausted, and Mata looks forward to building sustainable relationships and community to address some of this teacher fatigue and isolation. This is made all the more important by the expanding effort to teach Ethnic Studies at the K-12 level. She recently explained the importance of “incorporating counter-narratives,” especially in the teaching of Ethnic Studies, which requires “growing our own content knowledge and developing a critical lens.” Establishing a community where teachers feel comfortable trying out new content and pedagogical approaches is high on Mata’s list of priorities as she assumes this new role as Site Director.
Longtime UC Irvine Site Director, Nicole Gilbertson (who has recently taken a new position as Director of the UC Irvine Teacher Academy), commented, “I am excited to have Cindy as a partner to create and foster a community of history-social science and ethnic studies teachers. Cindy centers trust-building and relationships in her work with educators, researchers, and community members, which is an essential component of creating and sustaining learning communities.” Please join us in welcoming Mata to this new leadership role!